When Do Teeth Marks On The Tongue Signal Health Problems?

Lifestyle & Health

May 14, 2019 17:18 By Fabiosa

Probably every single one of us has had the displeasure of accidentally biting one's own tongue. Although this part of the body is mostly hidden from the eyes, its condition, such as a change of color or sores, may indicate underlying health problems.

wavebreakmedia / Shutterstock.com

The notches on the sides appear as a result of their frequent or constant compression and contact (friction) with the teeth. This phenomenon is also common among people whose tongue is bigger than average. Unlike accidental bites, a scalloped edge is generally painless. However, redness of the mucous membrane and a feeling of discomfort can be good reasons to see the doctor.

phugunfire / Shutterstock.com

When is scalloped tongue a symptom?

1. Infection, injury or allergy

Local inflammation is the body's natural reaction to infection, a chronic and persistent disease of the oral cavity, an allergen, or damage to the tissues. Smoking also increases the risk of swelling.

Andrey_Popov / Shutterstock.com

2. Sleep apnea

The lack of oxygen during sleep is compensated by fluid retention, which also leads to swelling of the tissues in the head area.

Veres Production / Shutterstock.com

3. Lack of vitamins, minerals, and water

Enlarged size of the tongue may result from a deficiency in B-group vitamins, iron, niacin, riboflavin, as well as dehydration.

Antonio Guillem / Shutterstock.com

4. Temporomandibular joint conditions

The development of this condition sometimes leads to teeth grinding as a bad habit or a symptom of another disease.

5. Other syndromes and diseases

A swollen and scalloped tongue often occur in patients with Down and Apert syndromes, hypothyroidism, sarcoidosis, amyloidosis, tuberculosis, multiple myeloma, lipoid proteinosis, neurofibromatosis, and others.

Zivica Kerkez / Shutterstock.com

What to do to alleviate the condition?

If the scalloped tongue results from the habit of biting it, cheek sucking, or picking at the teeth, you just have to control yourself and kick it. Over time, the shape will go back to normal.

If the problem doesn’t cause you discomfort and is the result of unbalanced nutrition, try revising your diet. Enrich it with products containing vitamin B12 and iron. It is also useful to increase the consumption of legumes, root crops (carrots, celery, parsnip, and beets), and cereals.

hightowernrw / Shutterstock.com

If the scalloped tongue is a possible symptom of another underlying disease, the only route to go is to correctly diagnose, the first step of which is consultation with your dentist. Finding out the cause of this condition often helps to identify and fix other problems or prevent their further development.

In most cases, the waves or rippled indentations on the tongue don’t pose a threat to health and are not a reason for concern. However, it wouldn’t hurt to get it checked.

Have you or any of the people you know had the problem of scalloped tongue? Please share with us what turned out to be the cause and how it was fixed.


This article is solely for informational purposes. Do not self-diagnose or self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for any harm that may result from using the information provided in the article.